July 1, 2015
Pig Factory Sued for Keeping Community in Dark About Hazardous Pollutants
Federal law and public health demand accountability
The Hanor Company of Wisconsin is facing a lawsuit for failing to report releases of hazardous amounts of ammonia from one of its massive North Carolina pig factory farms. The Humane Society of the United States and Sound Rivers, Inc. filed the lawsuit on behalf of the facility’s neighbors.
To protect the public, the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires large-scale emitters of ammonia and other dangerous chemicals to report those releases to state and local authorities.
Hanor’s North Carolina facility confines more than 8,000 pigs, generating about 38,000 gallons of manure and urine every day and emitting thousands of pounds of ammonia every month. Although required to report these ammonia emissions, the company apparently never has during the last five years.
Hanor is part of Triumph Foods, which collectively confines the second largest population of sows in the U.S. None of the Triumph companies have committed to phasing out the confinement of sows in gestation crates — a cruel practice that prevents pigs from even turning around for most of their lives.
The HSUS and Sound Rivers are represented by James L. Conner, II of Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest, LLP in Durham, N.C., Daniel C. Snyder of the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C. and lawyers with The HSUS animal protection litigation section.
- Animal agriculture is one of the nation’s leading sources of ammonia emissions. According to the EPA, ammonia is an “extremely hazardous” substance. It can cause serious health problems in people and animals, including burning and scarring the respiratory tract, reflex throat closure, loss of consciousness and even death. Ammonia also harms the environment by impairing air and water quality, endangering wildlife and the habitat on which they depend, and threatening farm animal health.
- Across the U.S., an estimated 20,000 factory farms confine billions of chickens, hogs and other animals and emit tons of noxious air pollution, including ammonia, as well as hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, methane and particulate matter.